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Airglow and Aurorae at Dome A, Antarctica

Sims, Geoff and Ashley, Michael C. B. and Cui, Xiangqun and Everett, Jon R. and Feng, LongLong and Gong, Xuefei and Hengst, Shane and Hu, Zhongwen and Lawrence, Jon S. and Luong-van, Daniel M. and Moore, Anna M. and Riddle, Reed and Shang, Zhaohui and Storey, John W. V. and Tothill, Nick and Travouillon, Tony and Wang, Lifan and Yang, Huigen and Yang, Ji and Zhou, Xu and Zhu, Zhenxi (2012) Airglow and Aurorae at Dome A, Antarctica. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 124 (916). pp. 637-649. ISSN 0004-6280.

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Despite the absence of artificial light pollution at Antarctic plateau sites such as Dome A, other factors such as airglow, aurorae, and extended periods of twilight have the potential to adversely affect optical observations. We present a statistical analysis of the airglow and aurorae at Dome A using spectroscopic data from Nigel, an optical/near-IR spectrometer operating in the 300–850 nm range. These data complement photometric images from Gattini, a wide-field (90°) CCD camera with B, V, and R filters, allowing the background sky brightness to be disentangled from the various airglow and auroral emission lines. The median auroral contribution to the B, V, and R photometric bands is found to be 22.9, 23.4, and 23.0 mag arcsec^(-2), respectively. Auroral emissions most frequently occur between 10–23 hr local time, when up to 50% of observations are above airglow-level intensities. While infrequent, the strongest emissions detected occurred in the hours just prior to magnetic midnight. We are also able to quantify the amount of annual dark time available as a function of wavelength, as well as in the standard BVR photometric bands. On average, twilight ends when the Sun reaches a zenith distance of 102.6°.

Item Type:Article
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Moore, Anna M.0000-0002-2894-6936
Riddle, Reed0000-0002-0387-370X
Additional Information:© 2012 The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Received 2012 April 26; accepted 2012 May 22; published 2012 June 15. This research is supported by the Chinese PANDA International Polar Year project and the Polar Research Institute of China. The authors wish to thank all the members of the 2008/2009/2010 PRIC Dome A expeditions for their heroic efforts in reaching the site and for providing invaluable assistance to the expedition astronomers in setting up the PLATO observatory and its associated instrument suite. This research is financially supported by the Australian Research Council, the Australian Antarctic Division, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the US National Science Foundation, and the United States Antarctic Program. Additional financial contributions have been made by the institutions involved in this collaboration. This research has made use of the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France. We thank Gary Burns for helpful comments on the draft of this article.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Chinese PANDA International Polar Year projectUNSPECIFIED
Polar Research Institute of ChinaUNSPECIFIED
Australian Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED
Australian Antarctic DivisionUNSPECIFIED
Chinese Academy of SciencesUNSPECIFIED
National Natural Science Foundation of ChinaUNSPECIFIED
United States Antarctic ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Astronomical Phenomena and Seeing
Issue or Number:916
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120801-110509912
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Official Citation:Airglow and Aurorae at Dome A, Antarctica Geoff Sims, Michael C. B. Ashley, Xiangqun Cui, Jon R. Everett, LongLong Feng, Xuefei Gong, Shane Hengst, Zhongwen Hu, Jon S. Lawrence, Daniel M. Luong-Van, Anna M. Moore, Reed Riddle, Zhaohui Shang, John W. V. Storey, Nick Tothill, Tony Travouillon, Lifan Wang, Huigen Yang, Ji Yang, Xu Zhou and Zhenxi Zhu Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific , Vol. 124, No. 916 (June 2012), pp. 637-649 Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Article DOI: 10.1086/666861 Article Stable URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:32834
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:01 Aug 2012 18:31
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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